Vice president of Enzyme Carolljo Maher discussed the importance of testing localization of games, striving to conquer the international market.
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of globalization in the gaming market. Games right now are being developed for countless platforms and being published in several regions simultaneously. Sometimes it gives incredible results and brings enough money to produce another title. Sometimes publishing a game overseas can turn into a nightmare.
There are countless examples of companies making mistakes during localization and getting into trouble. These mistakes may be connected with translation, poor choice of payment solutions; inability to modify the game mechanics to suit the gamers’ tastes (especially relevant for Asia with markets like China, Japan and South Korea having their own very particular preferences).
Enzyme is trying to help these companies working on international projects.
Carollijo Maher, Enzyme @ 80.lv, 2015
CJ: Our company specializes in quality assurance, transitions, PCI compliance testing. We have been in business for almost 15 years now. We’re helping people to make sure their game is workable for the market. As for the localization, the way that’s working is we’re bringing people everywhere from around the world working within our office. So we have people from Germany, Brazil, and Japan working into our offices to do the transitions but also the linguistic testing with that pool of resources.
Maher believes that localization is incredibly important for games. You absolutely have to test it if you don’t want to have a flop on your hands. Some translations can be very idiotic and not related to the game itself but if you look at the translator’s point of view it’s super relevant. When you apply it to the game and the function and everything you see that sometimes there are differentiations. You have to be very careful about such things and Enzyme pays a lot of attention to such details.
CJ: It’s important to do a quick check-in to make sure that trouble doesn’t happen. The way that we’re building our localization structure is we are doing everything within our secret area. If there’s some specific term that we just want to know, we open the consoles, mobiles, and we’ll look into it. It’s easier for us to have the most quality transitions the world, the feature, the activities that the game should be able to do.
The Importance of Small Things
To find potential problems Enzyme tests games extensively. The company does focus groups and marketing testing to give insights about what needs to be mended and tailored to be directly linked to the necessary market. Sometimes it could be a quick design, it could be the menu, it could be UI, it could be the control button that needs a change. Sometimes it’s the story or some cultural things.
CJ: For instance, if we’re translating a game that’s new in Canada, it’s a school bus theme (the school bus is yellow in Canada). If you apply that in France (the school bus in France is white), so if you’re not keeping that in mind when you publish a game in France, people will wonder why the bus is yellow and they’ll get confused about the game itself. They’ll get bored of a game they cannot relate to. These are all the things that need to be checked during transition when we’re doing localization. That’s why we’re doing focus groups to help them make specific version.
Prices and Partners
Enzyme works with the biggest companies in the industry. The company recently finished a huge project with Konami and started to work with Ubisoft. However CJ says that indies are welcomed too:
CJ: We work with big and indie companies also. It’s important for us because all games deserve the same quality and the project could be very small for one vs. very big for people who are behind a project are extremely devoted to every single one of them. We don’t know what project will be in the future, what that company will be in the future, or what that guy will be in the future. At Enzyme the business model we have developed in the past years is that every single game deserves the same quality and deserves the same level of services. We’re working with everyone.
Enzyme has a very flexible pricing model. The company is taking a fixed amount for every hour of work. There’s no minimum commitment for working with the company. If you have a little need that takes 30 minutes to do, so then you’ll get 30 minutes and that’s how Enzyme likes to work. It’s really very convenient for companies with different needs and budgets.